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Market of the Month: Portugal

Peru is one of the most rapidly expanding markets for U.S. goods and services. The United States is Peru’s leading trade partner, accounting for approximately 20 percent of imports and exports. On February 1, 2009, U.S. firms gained greater access to Peru when the U.S.–Peru trade promotion agreement (TPA) entered into force.

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Lisbon, Portugal (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
Lisbon, Portugal (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)


Portugal, which is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Spain, invokes a romantic notion of breathtaking scenery, rich history, beautiful tiles, and cobblestone streets. It is one of the oldest countries in Europe, having established its current borders in the 13th century. It joined the European Union (EU) in 1986 and is one of the founding countries of the euro zone. During the past 20 years, Portugal has made various economic and regulatory reforms, such as privatizing and liberalizing key areas of the economy, and has achieved a healthy level of growth.

The United States ranks fifth among Portugal’s top export trading partners (first for non-EU countries), while Portugal ranks 53rd among U.S. export markets. In 2007, Portuguese consumers bought approximately $2.4 billion worth of U.S. goods and services directly from the United States, including electrical machinery, aircraft parts and components, grains and oilseeds, optical and medical equipment, and wood products. However, the total amount of U.S. goods exported to Portugal is undoubtedly larger because U.S. products arrive in Portugal through other EU countries.

Despite the severe global economic downturn, Portugal’s government has stated that it will prioritize large project investments, such as a high-speed rail link to Spain and a new international airport in Lisbon. The projects are expected to create diverse opportunities for technology imports and international service contracts.

As in many other southern European countries, personal relationships are a key component of doing business in Portugal. The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service can help U.S. exporters build those personal relationships to successfully expand international sales to Portugal. Portugal can also be an excellent base of operations for doing business in Africa and Brazil, as well as in the rest of Europe.

For more information on export assistance programs in Portugal, visit or contact the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service American Embassy in Lisbon; tel.: +351 (21) 770 2528/727 3300; e-mail:

This text has been adapted from “Market of the Month,” a regular feature of the U.S. government’s export portal, To read a longer version, with detailed information on Portugal and links to other sources of information on this market, visit